Hidden tattoos

The Sunseeker 94 is the perfect motor yacht for the Monaco Grand Prix. It is small enough not to be ostentatious (ninety-four feet) but large enough to house a decent team of secret agents, particularly with two staterooms fitted with twin beds for the girls. The Mole would be enjoying the spacious main stateroom but had decided that they would leave the second state room available for any "needs-must" phases of the Monaco operation. He would organise the necessary cameras and tape recorders.

The Mole had gathered the troops a few days early for the Grand Prix. The rental was for a week and he concluded that it would be good for the girls to enjoy a little Cote d'Azur sunshine as they motored across the Bay of Angels, heading for Monaco.

"We need a false name for this ship," The Mole said. "Any suggestions?"

"Naff!" said Penelope (Roedean). "Register it in the Virgin Islands."

"I am not sure I want to be seen leaving a boat called Naff Virgins," said Penelope (Cheltenham Ladies College).

The new girl Annabel, who had arrived fresh from the MI6 training school, not a million miles away from Silverstone, tittered.

"Let's not be silly," said The Mole. "Now pay attention. Our aims for this weekend are as follows: One. I want to know why BAR-Honda had such a dramatic change of heart over the Imola fuel business. I mean, one day BAR's Nick Fry is banging on about how appalled the team is and how the verdict of the International Court of Appeal is contrary to all the evidence heard and calling the penalty wholly and grossly disproportionate and the next day he is singing like a canary about the wonderful nature of the FIA and the independence of the Court of Appeal. There must be two men must know the answer to that question: Fry is one and Max Mosley is the other. I want the truth."

"So we are supposed to stick our tongues down their throats and find out the truth?" said Penelope (Roedean).

"In a manner of speaking," muttered The Mole.

"Righto!" said Annabel. "I'll have Fry. You can have the President."

She gesticulated vaguely at Penelope (Cheltenham Ladies College).

"Well, hold on," said The Mole. "We need the other two to check out another mystery. I still do not understand why Honda and BMW backed off with their arbitration claims in December last year when they had a meeting with Mosley here in Monaco. One day the two manufacturers were booking First Class seats for their lawyers to fly to Lausanne and the next they were retreating faster than an Italian cavalry division at dinner time. I want to know why."

"I'll go after the German," said Penelope (Roedean). "He seems to be rather keen on himself and I am a dab hand at being gorgeous and disinterested. He will try to impress me and, Hey presto, he will soon be spilling the beans."

"That means that you get the Honda man," The Mole said to Penelope (Wycombe Abbey).

"I think I'll use drink," she replied.

"Whatever it takes," said The Mole.

"Oh God," said Penelope (Cheltenham Ladies College) to no-one in particular. "I am not dressing up in a tutu."

"Look," said The Mole. "We don't have to go over the top. I just want straight answers. There has been so much propaganda: white, black and grey, that I just want to understand what happened."

The girls nodded.

"Oh, and one other thing," said The Mole. "We really need to get out hands on a copy of the latest F1 TV viewing figures. Formula One Administration has adopted a completely new way of calculating the numbers and we need to see the results. I am told that they take into account whether or not people stay for a whole programme or whether they watch for a few minutes before going off to make tea. They have been done because it will give the numbers a bit more credibility and bring F1 into line with the way things are done in other sports."

Penelope (Roedean) laughed.

"That is brilliant," she said.

The Mole smiled.

"It is the perfect moment to revamp the methodology," Penelope continued.

"Yes," said The Mole. "When the numbers are down the best thing to do is to change the method of counting."

"My thoughts entirely," said Penelope. "What is it they say? It is a good day to bury the bad news?"

"I have a question," said Annabel, changing the subject. "Are we supposed to be classy babes, or are we a bunch of old slappers?"

"I suggest that you model yourselves on those girls that Jordan had at the Spanish GP," said The Mole.

"I am not kissing other girls!" said Penelope (Cheltenham Ladies College). "Particularly not for photographers."

"What?" said Penelope (Roedean), "Been there? Done that?"

The girls glared at one another.

"Can I charge a tattoo on expenses?" asked Annabel.

The Mole shook his head in awe and wonder.

"That's it!" cried Penelope (Roedean). "We'll call the boat 'Hidden Tattoos'. Just the thing for the Monaco crowd."

"Splendid," said The Mole.

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